Royle was Bent on Stuart

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today revealed that experienced Charlton star Graham Stuart was almost on his way to Portman Road.Had the Town board accepted the Londoners' £3 million bid for striker Darren Bent, Royle was ready to seek the services of 33-year-old Stuart as part of the deal.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle today revealed that experienced Charlton star Graham Stuart was almost on his way to Portman Road.

Had the Town board accepted the Londoners' £3 million bid for striker Darren Bent, Royle was ready to seek the services of 33-year-old Stuart as part of the deal.

Royle said: “I would have wanted Graham Stuart on loan if any deal was going to go ahead. If we had lost a player from the squad I'd have wanted one in straight away.

“But as things stand, we are going into the next part of the season and we still have four front players, so there's no problem.”

London-born Stuart, who started his career with Chelsea and also had spells with Everton and Sheffield United, has not featured for Charlton this season.

Ipswich's rejection of the Addicks' bid ahead of today's transfer deadline is a sure sign that the club's finances are under control.

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And it is also massive backing from the board for Royle, who is performing wonders with a wafer-thin squad and a shoestring budget.

The Town boss today headed for a brief break at his holiday home in Majorca, glowing with pride at his team's early-season form.

He added: “We'd have settled for this start, one disappointment at Derby apart.

“There has been such a turnaround at the club in such a short time. We virtually have a new team, with very few of last year's team still with us, so to be sitting third in the table is a good achievement.”

Town maintained their 100 per cent home start to the season with yesterday's 2-1 win over Wolves, who were many bookmakers' favourites to win the Championship.

Man of the moment Bent opened the scoring and a Tommy Miller penalty put Ipswich further ahead before the visitors hit back.

Bent has now reported for duty with the England Under-21 squad, along with club colleague Ian Westlake, for the European Championship qualifiers in Austria and Poland.

Royle added: “I can't see anything happening before the deadline. I am sure Charlton would have been back to us before now if they wanted to make an improved offer.

“Now we are going to make the most of the break. The players will have time off this week and training will be mixed. We'd had the schedule ready for weeks.

“We can let the players wind down and then get serious again next Monday.”

Town's next game is at home to another side who have started the season well, sixth-placed Millwall, on Sunday week.